Midlife is a time of reflection, and that reflection sometimes guides or influences us. It guides us to make changes, to lose weight, to gain weight, to start a new career, to buy a new car, to have an affair, to save a marriage, to get a divorce, to be better during the second half of our lives with a definition of better that only we can define.
Sometimes I dream. I dream that I am a world-famous surgeon or pediatrician. I dream that I majored in psychology and help person after person sort out their complicated and human emotions. I dream that I am a police officer or a detective and put away the bad guys. I dream that I did not make some of the mistakes I have made and will make in the future. All of these dreams have one theme, the deep desire to make a difference in the lives around me and to touch those outside of my immediate and simple life.
The other day an epiphany walked through the door. Perhaps I was already living my dream on a daily basis? This deep desire to make a difference can resonate in every single act, kind word and action I take.
During a painful divorce I felt so broken, rejected, so ugly, so “not right.” I cried to my mother and in a moment of deep despair sobbed the words, “what is wrong with me!” My mother, hurt to the core for her daughter, grabbed my hand and dragged me into the bathroom where a mirror stood reflecting my tear-stained reflection. She spoke words I would never forget. “There is nothing wrong with you, I see a beautiful young woman with a lot of love in her heart. There is nothing wrong with you, I see an intelligent young woman with her entire world ahead of her.” I have never forgotten my mother’s words and over time they have taken on even more meaning.
On that day my mother gave me the gift of love and helped me reject the hurtful lies I had been told about being broken, about not being good enough for someone else. My mother gave me hope and an understanding that I did not have to accept someone else’s labels.
I have tried to pay that moment forward, holding up friends that were going through a painful time crying “what is wrong with me” and I have responded “absolutely nothing, you are a beautiful person.” I pay it forward by “truly” listening to my children and my husband when they say they have had a bad day. I pay it forward in little ways and that matters, that counts. My mother taught me that an action of love could make a difference in not only my life but the future lives of people I encounter, and if I am so honored, I will succeed in passing these lessons onto my children and to the lives they encounter as well.
Am I working in the ICU? No. Am I capturing bad guys and putting them away? No. Am I helping sick children get well? No…well sometimes my own children. Am I a famous humanitarian? No. Who am I?
I am a woman, a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister and a friend. Although these labels may seem meager to some, I realize that what I do can positively influence future generations.
What are your dreams? Do not underestimate the quiet power you hold in your hands. Even the smallest of gestures can change a life. I am enough. You are too.
Sometimes I dream and realize I am already living that dream.